How the Council Provides Essential Services During the Safer at Home Order

A woman smiles at the camera with a laptop on a desk in the background.

Council Education and Vision Services Director Amy Wurf at her home office.

Council staff understand the need for information, connection and support during COVID-19. Even though the Council building is closed to the public and all in-person appointments and classes are postponed, staff are committed to providing essential services to clients and customers. The five staff in Vision Services are doing remote trainings, Calling clients to do wellness checks, giving educational presentations to groups virtually, and processing and shipping orders from the Sharper Vision Store. 

“A lot of our clients have questions about what their local options are and who their ADRC contact person is,” says Amy Wurf, Director of Education and Vision Services. “We want to be a resource for them and help them get connected with the information they need during this time. We are providing as many services as possible remotely.” 

A man on the phone with a braille keypad and keyboard in front of him. 

Jim Denham multi-tasking in his home office.

One-on-one assistive technology training, in some cases, is occurring remotely. Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist, is also offering online group classes, such as the “Eleven Amazing Accessible iPhone and Android Apps” on Tuesday, May 19. 

In-home vision rehabilitation visits are postponed until further notice. Amy, Jim, Brent Perzentka and Jean Kalscheur, periodically call clients on the phone to do wellness checks. Vision rehabilitation training can be done remotely upon request. 

A computer with 16 squares of students and part of a woman’s head.

Jean uses Zoom to conduct a class for UW-Madison occupational therapy class.

Jean uses Zoom to conduct a class for UW-Madison occupational therapy class.Education efforts have been moved to virtual platforms whenever possible. Jean Kalscheur, Education Program Specialist, presented to the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Occupational Therapy program virtually in early April. Other virtual presentations are in the process of being scheduled. 

The Sharper Vision Store is open for orders anytime online at the store website. You can call in your order by phone at (608) 255-1166 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Kris Johannsen, Sharper Vision Store Manager, is ensuring that orders are shipped out twice per week. Due to supply back-ups, there may be delays. 

A guy stands in front of packages, Purell and the WCBVI logo.

Kris is continuing to send out Sharper Vision Store orders twice a week.

In partnership with The Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired (OBVI), the Council is providing items to go into forty Stay Safe, Stay Connected Kits to be distributed to those in need. OBVI is paying for and distributing the care packages. Contact your local OBVI Vision Rehabilitation Therapist if you would like one. 

Since eyecare professionals are not considered essential services, most referrals are now coming from ADRCs, social workers, or people finding the Council through the website and social media platforms. The Council is continuing to keep up a robust communications presence to inform, inspire and entertain clients, customers and their families during this time of at-home isolation. 

“We are doing all we can do and are available as a resource,” says Amy. “We care about our people and are here if anyone has questions.” 

For questions about Vision Services and other needs, contact the Council at (608) 255-1166. If the phone is not answered when you call, leave a voicemail and staff will get back in touch with you as soon as possible. 

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